Monday, 29 August 2011
According to whose plan?
Some days I wonder if the things I'm passionate about are necessarily in line with God's plans for me!
Wouldn't if be great to be able to hear God's voice as clearly as if He was speaking to us on the phone?
For some people, their experience of God speaking is just like that - but for me, most of the time I'm trying to work out whether God's speaking to me or if it's just some idle fancy. This concept often seems to be in direct proportion of how much I do or don't want to comply! Like, 'I'll do anything you ask me as long as you don't want me to ....' - and then spend days fretting that that's EXACTLY what God has in mind!
What does that actually say about the concept of a loving Father? Do I expect God to plan for me to do things that I would hate? That sounds vindictive and runs counter to God's loving qualities!
Of course, it could be that He needs me to understand that HE is mighty enough to carry me through the experience; calling on HIS strength rather than my own!
But getting back to this 'hearing from God' idea - I'd love to just hear Him tell me what to do, rather than fumble around second-guessing - it would save a lot of precious time! Mostly, I feel like a pin-ball ricocheting off life's experiences with no real idea of where I'm going or what I'm supposed to be doing.
But God is NOT two-faced - in a constantly changing world, God is unchangingly constant! In the light of this we need to take Him at His word - ALL of it! No cherry-picking! What He says, sticks; he doesn't take back promises. So, in Jeremiah 29:11 we have the famous verse:"I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." (The Message)
If God has made plans and they are for my good why, then, would He plan horrible things? Answer: He wouldn't, but the Devil loves to tie us up in knots and convince us that may be the case!
So, in the sea of unknowing, when the way forward seems about as clear as pea-soup, that's the time to remember God's constancy. The promises He has made for us still stand. He does not lead us along a path and then abandon us - He walks with us through the lonely valleys and dry deserts and while we may not see or hear Him, still He is there.
After all, Jesus has walked the darkest valleys we will ever have to face and the great thing is that HE knows the way out; He's not just a companion in difficult journeys, He's our guide. All we need to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and trusting that HE will make sense of it all.
So, when my plans go awry, or I seem to keep hitting brick walls, getting back to basics seems to be the best way forward.
Jeremiah goes on, in verses 12-14 to say: "When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. When you come looking for me, you'll find me."
So when the way forward seems unclear, where my plans seem to be thwarted, it's best to go back to basics - honouring God in simple ways, just putting one foot in front of the other, giving myself space and time to focus on HIM until He is ready to tell me the next part of the plan.
Sounds great in theory - but it really is a 'one day at a time' experience in practice! (and yes - I'm still practicing!)